What You Need To Know If You Want To Raise A Well-Behaved (But Also Emotionally Healthy) Child

This single shift in mindset can transform your child's life forever.

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Do you find that your children are always acting up? Do they never seem to listen no matter how hard you try? During moments like these, it's easy to begin doubting yourself as a parent.

But let's be real, being a parent is far from easy. The reality is, we are all bound to mess up at some point. So, how can we raise emotionally healthy, well-behaved children without losing our minds completely?

Attachment therapist Eli Harwood has one tip that could truly change the way you parent your child forever.


What You Need To Know If You Want To Raise A Well-Behaved But Also Emotionally Healthy Child

"The opposite of defiance is not compliance," begins Harwood. Compliance and defiance are two sides of the same coin.

@attachmentnerd For an entire guide on how to build a secure relationship with your children and help them learn positive coping at any stage of life, preorder my book: Raising Securelyh Attached Kids: Connection Focused Parenting for Confidence, Empathy and Resilience.Book launches September 3rd and preorders are a HUGE help to getting the book out into as many retailers as possible!Link is in my bio on my page! #parenting #attachment #securelyattached #raisingsecurelyattachedkids ♬ original sound - Eli Harwood

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They both boil down to having utter control over your children. So then, what's the actual opposite of defiance?

Harwood explains, "The true opposite of defiance is connection."

If you find that your child is refusing to cooperate, then you will only join in on the power struggle if you choose compliance.

Harwood says, "And if that is how you relate to a child what will happen is one of 2 things."

Your child will pick up on traits that you use to control them. Then, once they figure it out they'll try to use those same tricks against you.

"Or their sense of spirit and empowerment will implode and they will learn not to stand up for themselves," explains Harwood.


But then, what can parents do to get their children to cooperate?

Well, try meeting them with curiosity instead. 

Hypothetically, let's say your child is refusing to put their jacket on — even if it's freezing cold outside. Instead of arguing, get down to their eye level and try asking them why.


Ask them, "Is there a reason why you don't want to wear them? Is it too hot or does it itch when you wear it? Do you feel overwhelmed and need a hug? How can I help you? Because you're going to need to wear your jacket outside."

And I get it, this might seem like a waste of time. The reality is, you'd rather force that jacket on them because you simply don't have the time to argue with a five-year-old.

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However, talking to your child is a lot easier than arguing. After all, if you can quickly figure out the why then you can come up with a better solution that works for you both.

But don't misunderstand — connection doesn't mean being permissive. Harwood says, "It doesn't mean we say 'Oh you don't want to okay I guess we'll stay home."


Connection simply means meeting your child halfway and finding a fair solution together. It's really about finding ways to connect with your kid.

It's about taking a moment to check in and letting your child know you want to understand them.

And that right there is what truly leads to a well-behaved, emotionally healthy kid.


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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.